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If you have work experience with a GP lined up, or you’re thinking about it for the future, here’s what you need to know.

How Do I Get A GP Placement?

You might think it would be easy to set up work experience with your local GP, but this usually isn’t possible for confidentiality reasons – because there’s a chance you’ll know patients attending the practice. This doesn’t mean you can’t ask your local GP for help, though. They may have ties with another practice that will welcome you for a placement.

Alternatively, you could call and email as many GPs as possible within your area. You could also seek help from the careers advisor at your school and get in touch with the education department at your local NHS Trust.

Be clear, polite and flexible to increase your chances of securing a placement.

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What Will I Learn From A GP Placement?

Primary healthcare is a unique setting, where aspiring medics will see a multitude of key skills in action. During a GP placement you could observe:

  • How GPs skilfully extract key information from patients in a timely manner.
  • The way that GPs identify potentially serious symptoms and escalate these, when appropriate, to a secondary healthcare setting.
  • How the practice works as a unified team. Sit in on reception or the emergency line and witness how essential teamwork really is in Medicine.
  • The role that GPs have in educating their patients on their health and how to manage chronic conditions.

Take a look at this blog to find out what one Med Student learned from their GP placement.

How Do I Make The Most Of My GP Placement?

The best way to make the most of your GP placement is to keep a diary of what you see. No matter how interesting a consultation is, you might forget it after a busy week!

At the end of every GP session that you witness, make a quick bullet point list that you can expand on when you get back home. Don’t forget to ask the Doctor why they did certain things if you aren’t sure, and take note of how they communicate with patients.

If you see or hear about an interesting condition, read up on it. Look at some research papers and cite them in your reflections.

During your GP Placement, you can also compare and contrast what you see against any hospital-based work experience you might have had. Make sure you understand how GP and hospital settings differ, as well as how they work together effectively.

Taking comprehensive notes during your placement will make your life so much easier when it’s time to write about it in your Personal Statement – and talk about it at your interviews.

GP Placement Alternatives

If you can’t secure a GP placement, there are many work experience alternatives you can consider, such as:

Don’t panic if you can’t get a GP placement. Many Med Schools have relaxed their work experience requirements for 2022 entry Medicine to take COVID-19 into account.

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